Submitted to: Russian Journal of Nematology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 7, 2005
Publication Date: July 1, 2005
Citation: Handoo, Z.A., Ellington, D.M. 2005. The value of the usda nematode collection and its database for taxonomic and systematic research [abstract]. Russian Journal of Nematology. 13(2):147.
The United States Department of Agriculture Nematode Collection (USDANC) at Beltsville, Maryland, is one of the largest and most valuable international resources for nematode taxonomic research and identifications. It is widely used by scientists throughout the world to resolve various taxonomic and nomenclatural problems; it also provides data on nematode hosts, occurrence, and distribution worldwide. Because urban expansion often makes it impossible to collect additional type specimens of a species from the original type locality, the Collection serves as an asset for taxonomic revision of previously described taxa. In the United States, nematology research began in the late 1800s, and for many years the collections of USDA nematologists remained in individual personal collections. In 1960, with type specimens of 18 species, A. Morgan Golden officially established the USDANC, creating an organized, unified repository of important specimens. The USDANC includes mounted specimens collected by pioneer workers over 100 years ago, such as N. A. Cobb’s original 1890 material of Mononchus longicaudatus. The collection also includes Thorne’s Collection of 6,600 slides with many original types, Steiner’s Mermithid Collection of 3,400 slides, and Nickle’s insect-parasitic nematode collection. The Collection consists of several constituent divisions and includes over 40,000 permanent slides and vials and 34,300 species entries in its searchable database, which is available on the Web at http://www.nem.barc.usda.gov/database/search.cfm. The type collection is one of the constituent divisions and is constantly monitored and maintained. Because only ten percent of the species of animals, plants, and microorganisms on the planet have been named, taxonomic collections such as the USDANC are priceless in scientific value.